LONGSHOTS: Rambling along with some random thoughts
by Dave Long
I’ve had a lot of thoughts building up since the last time I did this, so here’s the latest edition of facts and thoughts that are nice to know but you don’t need to know.
Does anyone else realize if the trades that would have sent Manny and Nomar packing in the winter before the 2004 season had happened, with A-Rod and Magglio Ordonez hitting out of their heads, the Sox would now have the home run, RBI and batting leader in the same lineup?
With Coco Crisp having climbed into the high .250s how’s my bet he’ll hit .300 looking now? And I’m going to go out on a limb with a similar offer to take on all comers and guarantee Julio Lugo will hit at least .200.
Mark Buehrle, huh? Given the nice job Theo has done with the farm system. It’ll be interesting to see who he gives up to get the lefty from Chicago if it happens. To me the test of a good GM is a guy who gets what he needs without giving up the A and A+ (and even A-) prospects. You think Craig Hansen is still in the category?
Failure in that department is why the Celtics are like they are — not losing the ping balls with Tim Duncan.
My favorite thing about the post-game press conferences during the Pitino administration was Rick starting it by saying “we don’t make excuses” and then proceeding to make about 10 for why they just lost.
Since I am one from a previous generation, I take a certain measure of pride seeing kids like Tyler Roche, the gang from Trinity, Matt Bonner and others taking the basketball talent pool higher than it’s ever been around here.
Here this week’s sports do over: I want Grady Little to take Pedro out before the seventh in game seven to see what would have happened. The only thing I’m sure of in that scenario is that if the bullpen coughed it up like Pedro did, Little would have gotten fired for taking his ace out in such a critical situation. Can you say scapegoat?
While I’m like Bill Parcells and reserve my right to change my mind, here are my top five favorite sports nicknames: Vinnie The Microwave Johnson, Ervin Magic Johnson, because he was, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Vinegar Ben Mizell and Three Fingers Mordecai Brown. Here are the second five: George the ice man Gervin, Elroy Crazy Legs Hirsch, Dr. J Julius Erving, Earl the pearl Monroe and Bronco Nagurski. Honorable mention: Refrigerator Perry.
Speaking of nicknames, it was sad to see former Red Sox reliever Rod Beck pass at 38 over the weekend. It brought to mind one of my favorite Chris (can you smell something) Berman nicknames — he called him Rod Beck (Beck Beck Beck Beck).
Here are a few more favorites: Roberto (Remember the) Alomar, Tony Gwynn (one for the Gipper), Scott (supercalifragilisticexpiali) Brosius, Francisco (umbilical) Cordova, Mike (Car 54) Lavalliere, Dave (parallel) Parker, Stan Javier (self a merry little Christmas), Eddie (eat, drink and be) Murray, the Curley Howard-inspired Lamarr (where does it) Hoyt, and my personal favorite, Oddibe (young again) McDowell.
I’m not a huge boxing guy, but seeing an in-his-prime Mike Tyson on ESPN Classic just bore in on opponents reminded me he was the scariest fighter I’ve ever seen. Joe Frazier was in your face, but Tyson was much worse. Yikes!
Speaking of Frazier: I nominate Howard Cosell’s “DOWN goes Frazier” to the great call of a single moment Hall of Fame. It conveyed the shocking drama of seeing the heavyweight champ lifted off both feet by the awesome power of soon to be (in about 15 seconds) champ George Foreman. And it goes ahead of Al Michaels’ “Do You Believe In Miracles” too.
My general position on unbreakable records is that if one person can do it, then someone else can. That’s why I think someone will hit .400 someday and Joe DiMaggio’s streak of hitting in 56 straight can be broken, BUT, nobody is touching Cy Young’s 511 wins and Wilt’s 55 rebounds in a game. And then there’s Ty Cobb’s lifetime .367 batting average!
And speaking of the legendary Cobb, his 12 batting titles and lifetime average say he must have been pretty good. But, knocking in a seventh-best all-time 1,938 runs playing in the dead ball era is even more unbelievable. How do you do that with just 117 homers?
Speaking of runs batted in, I once stood outside of Palace Fruit on Hanover Street sometime last century arguing with SNHU’s Stan Spirou over who was a better third baseman, Mike Schmitt or George Brett. While checking out Cobb’s numbers I was shocked to see that both guys knocked in the exact same 1,595 runs. Given the advantage Schmitt had with over 250 more homers, I rest my case.
And I do realize I’m the only person in the galaxy who cares about stuff like that.
You don’t suppose Pacman Jones’ astonishing run of legal troubles started with a guest column in the Nashville News written by semi-retired, semi-beloved scribe Joe Sullivan entitled Pacman Jones — The Greatest Tennessee Titan Cornerback Ever, do you? It sure sounds like the Curse Of Joe Sullivan is at work to me. I mean the Joker, Riddler and Mr. Freeze combined didn’t have as many run-ins with the cops as he has the last year.
And speaking of UL scribes, while I’m sure George O’Leary is breathing a sigh of relief, I can’t believe the Big F got traded to the news department. It’s a real loss to the Sunday sports section.
What do you think Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick would have done with the fifth pick if they were in charge of the Celtics?
Here’s how I define negative in sports reporting: when reporters complain, belittle, point the finger after the fact without ever putting their own neck on the line with what their solution will be before it happens. Anybody can second guess.
Next time you feel the need to bash Bud Selig, remember he put in the fix that got John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino the Red Sox instead of Chuck Dolan. If that had happened I’m guessing they’d be the same kind of laughing stock the Knicks have turned into under the reign of his family at MSG.
Anyone out there know Babe Ruth was a perfect 5-0 as a pitcher for the Yankees? And that didn’t come just when he got to the team. He pitched a complete win in 1933 — 14 YEARS after he stopped being a full-time pitcher. He’d have won 350 games had he remained a pitcher.
OK — feel free to start dazzling them at parties with this stuff — especially the ditty about the Babe’s 5-0 mark in N.Y.
Dave Long is host of Home Team Saturday with Dave Long and Company, 10 a.m. to noon each Saturday morning on WGAM (1250 AM in Manchester and 900 AM in Nashua).